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The Philly Holiday Experience: Everything You Need to Know

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Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

The Philly Holiday Experience brings plenty of festive cheer to the city. Here’s everything the seasonal to-do offers to get you in the spirit.

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and Philadelphia sure knows how to celebrate the holidays! From the tree lighting at City Hall to the shopping at Christmas Village and the light display in Franklin Square, the Philly Holiday Experience offers plenty of new and time-honored traditions to help you get into the spirit of the season. Luckily for us, Philadelphia is just a short drive or train ride away, so make sure you check out these holiday happenings around the city.

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Tree Powered by NRG

December 1 through January 1

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Tree

Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

Make sure to stop by the Wawa Holiday Plaza on the north side of City Hall for a photo in front of the city’s dazzling Christmas tree. The tree hails from Yule Tree Farms in Hornell, New York. “It’s approximately 57 years old and is an impressive 55 feet tall,” City Representative Sheila Hess notes. On December 1 at 7 p.m., the tree will light up for the first time this season during a festive lighting ceremony full of performances you won’t want to miss. If you can’t make it into the city that night, tune into 6abc to watch from the comfort of your couch.

North side of City Hall, 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia

12 Days of Giveaways

November 22 through December 4

In honor of the season of giving, Philly Holiday Experience is giving you the chance to win awesome experiences from November 22 to December 4. Take to social media to enter for a chance to win one of 12 daily prizes, like Disney on Ice tickets, gift cards and even overnight stays.

Visit Philly Holiday experience on Facebook or Instagram.

Wintergarden

November 1 through March 26

Wintergarden

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Dilworth Park offers a relaxing respite in the middle of Center City with this outdoor hub. Stop by to take in the décor and twinkling lights and grab a warm mulled wine from the Chaddsford Winery kiosk onsite.

Dilworth Park, 1 S 15th St, Philadelphia

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

November 25 through March 5 

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Photo by M. Stanley for DRWC

A 29-year tradition, Winterfest offers plenty of holiday cheer plus views of the Delaware River. Lace up your ice skates on the rink, indulge in a variety of delicious eats or gather with friends or family in a rented warming cabin. Boardwalk games and rides provide loads of fun for all ages, and the spot is illuminated with thousands of lights to create a dreamy winter wonderland.

101 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia 

Christmas Village

November 19 through December 24

Christmas Village

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Channeling the traditional open-air markets of Germany, this outdoor marketplace is full of unique finds, tantalizing smells and delicious eats. Find perfect holiday gifts at the wooden booths lined up throughout LOVE Park and be sure to take a break to enjoy traditional European snacks.

LOVE Park, 1500 Arch St, Philadelphia 

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

December 3

Holiday Parade

Photo by Dominque Nichole for Visit Philadelphia

Mayor Jim Kenney is thrilled to see the parade return to the city streets for the second year in a row. “We have marching bands from all over the country coming to kick off our holiday season,” he says. “It’s a wonderful time of the year. We’ve been through a lot, and now we need to celebrate and enjoy ourselves.” Happening on Saturday, December 3 at 5 p.m., the parade celebrates all winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Chinese New Year, beginning at 2nd and Market Streets and concluding at City Hall.

Begins at 2nd and Market Streets 

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

November 24 through January 1

The Comcast Center Campus hosts a 15-minute, family-friendly show that takes you on a virtual sleigh ride around the world and back to the heart of Center City Philadelphia. Pop into the building anytime between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to catch the show, which is a Philly favorite every year.

Comcast Center Campus, 1701 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia 

Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink

November 4 through February 26

Dilworth Park Ice Skating

Photo by K. Kelly for Visit Philadelphia

Against the backdrop of City Hall, the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink delights both experienced skaters and newbies looking for seasonal fun. The rink is open seven days a week, and reservations can be made online for 90-minute skating sessions.

Dilworth Park, 1 S 15th St, Philadelphia

Winter in Franklin Square

November 16 through February 26

Franklin Square

Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Prepare to be wowed by a dazzling light show based on Philly’s own Benjamin Franklin and his discovery of electricity. The Electrical Spectacle Light Show is presented by PECO and features over 200,000 lights. The show runs in Franklin Square every 30 minutes after 5 p.m.

Franklin Square, 200 N 6th St, Philadelphia

Deck the Hall Light Show

November 21 through January 1

Deck the Hall Light Show

Photo by Elevated Angles for Visit Philadelphia

A beloved city tradition, the west façade of City Hall is illuminated with festive projections at the top of every hour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Grab a spot right in front of the display or view the show from the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink or Wintergarden.

Dilworth Park, 1 S 15th St, Philadelphia

Macy’s Center City Holiday Celebrations

November 25 through December 31

Make sure you include Macy’s on your list of must-visit holiday destinations around the city. Residents and visitors alike look forward to the store’s holiday traditions every year, like the vibrant window displays and the Dickens Village experience, which consists of animated displays based on A Christmas Carol. The Christmas Light Show takes place in the middle of the store and is accompanied by the world-famous Wannamaker Organ. Take advantage of this time to get some shopping done as well.

Macy’s, 1300 Market St, Philadelphia 

Free Phlash Fridays

Each Friday from November 25 through December 30

Make a plan to check out all the holiday offerings throughout Philadelphia on a Friday to enjoy the free Philly Phlash Downtown Loop. This shuttle service runs every 15 minutes and transports you to all holiday attractions around the city at no cost on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Stops include LOVE Park, Dilworth Park, the Comcast Center Campus and East Market.

Various locations

Related: Eagles Players Set to Release “A Philly Special Christmas” Album